4But the priest answered David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here…”
Religion requires works that overlook a need for the sake of a score. The Gospel requires personal sacrifice that creates a heart for the stranger for the sake of Jesus Christ. In many ways, religion is easier. We can understand scores. We can understand a checklist. What’s difficult for us to comprehend is an open-ended demand for love. We respond with quantifying questions: “Love who? How much love? When should I love?” This is because our sinful natures are not able to love naturally, increasingly, daily. Trying to love that way is like holding our breath underwater until we can break the surface and breathe the oxygen we were made for. But the love of God demands the love of God. Period. The first victory is the realization that we are totally incapable of that demand and therefore need God every step of the way. As much as God wants us to turn to Jesus and rely on him for everything, sin also has a passion for redirecting our attention away from Jesus and back onto ourselves, leaving us more likely to seek our own righteousness through a list we can follow as opposed to a task that we know we would fail at.
The Gospel always sees a specific need over a specific rule. Is someone naked? Give them clothes. Is someone hungry? Give them food. Is someone homeless? Give them a home. Is someone sad? Give them a hug. These are the standards of Jesus and His Gospel and therefore must be the instinct of a person claiming identity in Christ and calling themselves a Christian. A Christian does not ask for papers first and then serves second. A Christian professes faith in the Suffering Servant and is remade in His image. Not as a leader. Not as a King. Not as anything but a servant. When we realize that our sensitivity to the needs of our fellow brothers and sisters is being overshadowed by our status, our system or our score we must pray that the Holy Spirit convict us of our religiosity and reclaim us in the name of Jesus for the sake of Jesus as a disciple of Jesus. Actions always speak louder than words, and when our actions glorify ourselves we are no longer servants, no longer disciples and no longer Christians.